Have you ever been to Italy? If not, maybe it’s time. If so, do you miss it? I do. That’s why I’m going back this summer with my friend and colleague John Ballew to host
COME BACK TO YOUR SENSES – Cultivating Sensuality in Tuscany
A workshop for gay men
June 11-18, 2016
About the Program:
In today’s fast-paced world, hard-working people spend their days harnessed to computers and electronic devices. We believe it’s spiritually rewarding to take time to nourish yourself, to explore and refine simple pleasures. We invite you to come back to your senses.
Presented under the auspices of our friends at Il Chiostro, this retreat offers more than simply the opportunity to get away from ordinary life. We are inspired by the ancient philosophy of Epicureanism. Dating from the 4th century BC, Epicureanism taught that the pleasures of the senses offer a verifiable standard of truth and therefore can serve to cultivate wisdom, justice, and happiness.
During the week-long retreat, we will spend time cultivating all of the senses. You will be invited to really see what you see, taste what you taste, smell what you smell, hear what you hear, and touch what you touch – really slow down, savor your sensory impressions and replenish your skills of discernment.
In a setting that is both safe and inviting to gay men, we will help you remember the joy of life in a body!
“Come Back to Your Senses” is a rich but gently structured adventure. Our days together will alternate between two different kinds of activity:
1) interactive group exercises designed to help us slow down, engage our sensual mechanisms, recalibrate our awareness of what’s important in our lives, activate our creativity, and cultivate deeper intimacy with ourselves and others; and
2) expeditions to nearby towns such as Montalcino and Pienza or destinations such as the Abbey at Sant’Antimo or the spa Bagno Vignoni.
There will be time to relax and enjoy the beautiful Tuscan setting, and every evening we will sit down for a leisurely delicious multi-course dinner prepared just for us. There’s something really special about sharing these activities in Italy with a soulful group of open-hearted gay men. The size of the group is limited to 10 participants.
Accommodations: The program will take place at Il Chiostro’s favorite new location, San Giovanni d’Asso in Tuscany, 40 km southeast of Siena. We will stay in an ancient farmhouse called “Il Tribbio,” which was completely refurbished in 2005. This large house has five double bedrooms, each of which has a private bathroom and air-conditioning. Outside there is a loggia with panoramic views of the surrounding area known as the Val d’Orcia. a swimming pool, and large outdoor spaces for gathering or relaxing. In front of the house there is a large, beautiful garden with olive and pomegranate trees and a wide grassland, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the rolling Sienese hills.
Il Tribbio is located in a peaceful countryside 10 minutes by foot (1 km) from the romantic village of San Giovanni d’Asso, which has a beautiful 14th century castle, a charming tiny 11th century Romanesque church, a crazy botanical garden called Il Bosco della Ragnaia (curated and owned by an American painter), and a truffle museum (most of the truffles that come from Italy originate here).
Price: $2,595 p/p
- Double room with ensuite bathroom and shower
- Daily breakfast and dinner, including wine
- Workshop tuition, daily experiences facilitated by the instructors
- Selected excursions with the group
Price does not include:
- Independent meals and sight-seeing
To register: A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop. Payment can be made online here with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail. Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program. You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance. Final Balance is due by May 1st.